As part of the multi-ethnic, multiplatinum band the Black Eyed Peas, rapper/dancer Taboo has helped the group sell over 32 million albums around the world. Alongside will.i.am, Fergie and apl.de.ap, he has created some of the new century’s most memorable jams including “Where Is the Love,” “Let’s Get It Started,” “I Got a Feeling,” “My Humps” and “Imma Be.”
But Taboo, whose real name is Jaime Luis Gomez, has another passion in life: toys. At Stan Lee’s Comic-Con in Los Angeles, Taboo discussed his desire to open a toy museum, the future of the Peas and his need to help Indian brethren (Taboo is part Shoshone Indian) at the pipeline protests at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation in North Dakota.
Question: How did you get involved with Stan Lee’s L.A. Comic-Con?
Answer: I’ve immersed myself into Comic-Con culture for many years now. I’ve been going to the one in San Diego for a while.
I’ve been an avid toy collector for many years. I’ve been on the TV show “Toy Hunters” where I got that Hulk Hogan (action figure), the carded one in the package.
I just wanted to share my experience with the people who love Comic-Con culture and who love collecting. People know me from Black Eyed Peas, but toy collecting is also something that I’m passionate about. I try to hold on to my nostalgia for things I loved as a kid.
Q: Are the toys in your collection from your childhood?
A: A lot of these items I may not have had as a kid. I may have had pieces. Like the G.I. Joe, Transformers and Star Wars.
Q: Why come here and set up a toy museum?
A: I wanted to give back. To say thank you to Comic-Con, thank you to Stan Lee. Thank you to all these people that have shown me love through music. This is me giving back by sharing my collection. I call it the Taboo Toy Museum.
Q: Is what’s on display your entire collection?
A: Everything here is mine. But it’s not my entire collection. These are pieces that I wanted to show to premiere. Eventually I want to start growing this.
Q: Do you want to create an actual toy museum people can visit?
A: Yes. I want to create a toy museum in Los Angeles. I’m an Angeleno.
People can come and appreciate the culture, immerse themselves in it and be part or something that I love other than just my music and dancing.
There are a lot of us out there that are part of Comic-Con culture that will respect this and see this as an opportunity to connect and meet different toy collectors. And people who love this culture. They can come and hang out and enjoy. Get to meet me [and] I get to meet you.
Q: Do you have a favorite toy here in the collection?
A: I would says this USS G.I. Joe aircraft carrier. It was something that I always wanted as a kid but never had the opportunity to get it. I would always ask Santa for this, but it never came. The fact that I was able to finally get it and have it in the box, although the box is a little ripped, it’s a big thing for me. Also this motorcycle is from Black Eyed Peas “The End” tour.
Q: There are a couple controversial toys here like the O.J. Simpson doll.
A: That’s one of them. The most controversial is the bin Laden versus USA video game. Some people might get upset by that. Thing is, I’m not promoting that game, I’m just letting people know there are some items in the collection that I dug deep to get that some people may agree with.
Or may not. That’s the beauty of collecting.
Q: Do you have a “wish list” of items you don’t have but would like to get?
A: I would like some “Six Million Dollar Man” items that I have yet to be able to collect. But this collection on display today is just a little example of what’s to come. This is where is starts.
Q: You brought all this here today at no charge?
A: I’m not charging for this. Meeting people is the most important experience. I know people here are charging for things. I get that, but that’s not me. I want to meet the people, find out what they like.
Q: How important is it to keep your collectable in the original packages?
A: Sometimes I feel like certain pieces you keep on the card. The Hulk Hogan, which was given to me by Hulk himself on the “Toy Hunter” TV show, is special. It’s from Hulk, so I gotta keep that as a carded piece. But with other toys, I keep the box, but I like to play with my toys too. Because I have kids.
Q: How do keep your kids from ripping things out of packages to play with them?
A: We talk about it. I say, “You don’t have to open your toys if you want to collect them.” I try to explain it to them. It’s different for them.
Q: What’s the status of the Black Eyed Peas?
A: New album coming in 2017. Excited about that. We’ve been doing a lot of individual work. Time to make it happen again.
Q: Away from toys and music, what else are you working on?
A: I’ve been doing a lot of work with my native people in North Dakota. The whole North Dakota Access pipeline. I’m very involved with trying to do my part there with Shailene Woodley and a couple of other people. We’re all about the environment and preserving things for the future for our kids. We’re trying to be activist and involved with humanitarian efforts. You have to be. I want to set a great example for my kids first and foremost.